Don’t have measles vaccine? Gym, restaurant are banning you
LAKEWOOD — Schools, businesses and officials got serious about the spread of measles in an Ocean County community over the weekend, as confirmation of several potential additional cases is pending.
Four cases of measles were confirmed in Lakewood last week by the Ocean County Health Department. Four more potential cases are under investigation but lab results will not be back until Wednesday, according to OCHD spokesman Dan Regenye.
Parents all weekend tried to get their vaccinations updated at the CHEMED Medical Center in Lakewood, where tents were set up outside for examinations of those who suspect they were exposed.
CHEMED told the Lakewood Scoop it is working with the county and state health departments, the state EMS Task Force and the NJ Primary Care Association in administrating shots to all who need them this week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thursday.
Regenye.said the state has relaxed regulations to allow children as young as 6 months to receive their first MMR vaccinations. The second shot, which is usually administered when a child is 4 to 6 years old, can be given earlier as it shown some "protective value" against measles.
Lakewood pediatrician Dr. Reuven Shanik told the Scoop schools should not allow children who are not immunized to attend class. At least two businesses — a workout facility called The Gym and the Snaps Kosher restaurant — have banned customers who are not immunized. The Gym went so far as to require proof of immunization be presented.
Regenye said the Orthodox Jewish population has a high rate of vaccination and are not against vaccines,
"With any population, this goes across all religions and ethnic and cultural backgrounds, whether its a Jewish, Catholic or Protestant or Caucasian or African American or Hispanic. I think there's always going to be those pockets of folks that are anti-vaccine and they believe there's natural immunity and think think vaccines are unsafe," Regenye said.
He said one thing factor unique to the Jewish community in Lakewood is larger families in closer quarters, which could promote the spread of illness if someone comes down with this disease.
The four latest cases all stem from exposure to a 27-year-old man who had traveled to Israel and who was confirmed to have the measles late last week. Anyone potentially exposed could develop symptoms as late as Nov. 20.